Artist Focus: Yael Bartana

…And Europe Will Be Stunned: Nightmares (Mary Koszmary), Wall and Tower (Mur i weiża), Assassination (Zamach)

Yael Bartana | Poland | 2007-11 | 90m | Polish & Hebrew with English subtitles

TUE JAN 21 8:30 PM

As modern Zionism was born with Theodor Herzl’s novel Altneuland, so artist Yael Bartana willed into existence a reverse Zionism, the not-quite-fictitious or entirely ironic Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, with her video trilogy. Over the three parts of …And Europe Will Be Stunned (which represented Poland at the 2011 Venice Biennale as an installation), one sees the birth pangs of the campaign, replete with mass rallies and youth groups, supported by both Poles and Israelis, to restore Jewish life in Poland. Bartana’s iconography alludes to the tragedy of 20th-century European Jewry while drawing both on the Soviet propaganda of the 1920s and the Zionist propaganda of the 1930s, archival examples of which will be shown along with her work. Introduction and discussion with J. Hoberman.

Yael Bartana studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, the School of Visual Arts, New York and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. In 2011, she represented Poland for the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale where the trilogy …And Europe Will be Stunned premiered. She has had numerous solo exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad including the Moderna Museet, Malmö; PS1/MoMA, New York; The Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; the Kunstverein Hamburg; and Secession, Vienna. Her newest film, Inferno, premiered at the Perez Art Museum in Miami.  

J. Hoberman writes on film and culture for numerous publications including Artforum, Film Comment, Tablet and the New York Times. He is currently a visiting professor at Harvard University and is the author of many books including Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds, The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism, and, with Jeffrey Shandler, Entertaining America: Jews, Movies and Broadcasting.